Unnerving moment a pride of lions surrounds game ranger’s car as they search for shade from the scorching South African sun
- Pieter can Wyk, 34, was stuck as the apex predators stopped by his vehicle
- The 22-lion pride surrounded the car in MalaMala Game Reserve in Mpumalanga
- He was forced to wait it out in the car until the lions no longer needed the shade
A pride of 22 lions stopped a game ranger in his tracks when they surrounded his car in a South African game reserve.
Pieter van Wyk filmed the lions as they spotted the large shadow cast by his jeep and made their way over to escape the glaring sun.
Soon the 34-year-old found himself closely surrounded by the pride in the 15,000-hectare MalaMala Game Reserve in Mpumalanga.
He was forced to sit it out and wait for the sun to move and the shadow to shrink, before the lions finally started to disappear and he could move on.
The pride 22 lions surround the game rangers car as they seek to stay out the sun on a blazing day in South Africa
The lions spot Pieter’s car while roaming the 5,000-hectare MalaMala Game Reserve in Mpumalanga
One female lion pants in the shade of Pieter’s car first before the rest of the pride begin skulking over.
She looks directly at the ranger as he says ‘they passed by our vehicles and this ended up being their chosen spot, as you can see’.
The lions line up one-by-one in the shade behind his car with each sticking their heads up to look over at him while he films.
He jokes that this is ‘South African problems’, although it is unclear whether he means the hot sun or the 22 apex predators keeping him in his car.
The first female lion to lie down in the shade looks up while panting at Pieter as he films her
The rest of pride sit behind her while she continues to curiously gaze at Pieter in his car
Pieter said: ‘It was late morning and the mercury levels were rising as the sun climbed higher into the sky.
‘The lions, Africa’s apex predators, were on the hunt not for food, but for shade.
‘They decided that the shadow cast by my vehicle would do just fine.
‘It is not uncommon during hot days on MalaMala Game Reserve and it was their decision to come into my ‘personal space’.
‘Animals have right of way so I had to wait. But it wasn’t too long before the shadow got too small and they moved on.’
Pieter can Wyk, 34, took the film as part of the ‘Rangers in Isolation’ series to showcase MalaMala’s wildlife to people stuck at home during the lockdown
The moment was filmed as part of a series called ‘Rangers in Isolation’ which sees rangers share videos of game drives and field work online during the lockdown.
They hope people who wanted to visit MalaMala but were unable to due to the pandemic can still seethe African bush and some incredible natural encounters.
The reserve is home to the Big Five animals – lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceroses and Cape buffalo – as well as cheetahs, hyenas, giraffes, hippos and wild dogs.
It also housed Tjololo, a famous leopard who starred in the National Geographic documentary Stalking Leopards, until he died in October, 2007.